Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes by Life as a Strawberry
YIELD: 18-24 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ cup buttermilk (see how I make my own buttermilk in this recipe)
For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
- ¼ c. (57 grams) of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar (give or take, depending on what kind of consistency you want. I like my frosting pretty thick because it holds up well when it’s piped or it’s warm outside)
For the Cupcakes:
- In a stand mixer, cream together butter, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar.
- Add the egg and the egg white one at a time to the mixer while it runs on low speed.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt.
- In a glass measuring cup, make your buttermilk. (In this case, I used 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar + milk until the mixture measured ½ cup.)
- Add the baking soda to the buttermilk (trust me) and stir. The baking soda will react with the vinegar and your mixture will swell up a bit and take on a foamy consistency. This is what you want!
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture (starting and ending with flour so as not to deflate the batter) to the batter, mixing after each addition until all the flour and buttermilk have been incorporated into the batter.
- Pour batter into cupcake pans and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool and top with your choice of frosting. I used Vanilla Buttercream! (Recipe below).
For the Vanilla Buttercream:
- In a medium bowl, cream together butter, vanilla, and ¼ cup of the powdered sugar. (This is easy to do by hand but also works great in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment).
- Add 1 Tbsp. of the milk and another ½ cup of the powdered sugar and mix well.
- Add remaining milk and stir.
- Add remaining powdered sugar as needed until your frosting has achieved your desired consistency. (I usually use all 2 cups, sometimes more.)
- Frost your cupcakes and dig in!
For the Buttermilk
*I don't actually use buttermilk from a carton in my baking. For every cup of buttermilk called for in a recipe, I put 2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup and fill it up to the 1 cup mark with skim or 2% milk. In this case, I used 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar and filled the measuring cup with milk up to the ¼ cup mark. The apple cider vinegar lends a nice kick and I don't have to worry about keeping a carton of buttermilk stocked in my fridge. This is my favorite substitute - give it a try if you want or feel free to use the real thing!